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Can music player reduce the quality and value of good headphones?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

Hey guys!
Question: I'm getting the Audio Technica ATH-M50 for my long bus rides to school next year. Now I know MKBHD says that the sound quality is good enough that you don't need an amp, but I suspect that the Apollo music player on my Cyanogen mod Galaxy S2 isn't giving me the best sound, maybe screwing up the EQ or something. Is it something to consider before buying? Is it worth buying a new music player or an amp? Thanks.

 

ymfarhi

 

P.S. I've heard these don't have the best noise cancelers, true? If so, are there headphones in that price range with as good sound and better noise cancelers?

post #2 of 10
If you're interested in noise canceling, go with IEMs. I use Etymotic 4s with tri-flanges to cut grass with. They isolate to like 40 db. You will also want to keep your bones off of any surfaces that are transmitting mechanical energy as it will resonate through your body and impact low end sound. As for a better amp, that's hit or miss. I've ran my ipod with RS-1s and it's plenty. But the Etys do sound better out of my Xin portable but it's because of bass boost and crossfeed more so than power.

Welcome to Head Fi and sorry for your wallet.
post #3 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by ymfarhi View Post
 

...but I suspect that the Apollo music player on my Cyanogen mod Galaxy S2 isn't giving me the best sound, maybe screwing up the EQ or something.

 

It's possible, but as for whether that particular app is doing such a thing, it's hard to tell without at least comparing it to another music player app. You could read up on how to EQ, use a graph of the M50 you can find through Google, then use Neutron Media Player's EQ to put that headphone closer to neutral. Problem though is that its sophisticated software also sucks a lot of the battery's charge.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ymfarhi View Post
 

Is it worth buying a new music player or an amp? Thanks.

 

Are you still referring to the music player app or an entirely new device (a dedicated music player, like the X3 or the DX50) vs adding an amp to the S2?

The problem with adding an amp is that headphone outputs aren't the same as line level outputs, with different impedance and voltage specs, with volume probably in the digital level. Add to that how, while using your phone as a music player will allow you to hear incoming calls, you now have an amp strapped onto it with no microphone along the signal path, so you'll need to whip out your phone and amp stack and put it next to your mouth. You'll look like at a crisis control center wearing headphones and talking on the radio ordering SWAT to stand down. Here's a thread on the advantages and disadvantages of DAPs and phone+amp set-ups.

 

If you're referring to the app, well, you can always try other apps first. NeutronMP has a free trial period, see if you can figure out the processor settings and if you can live with its battery consumption. I also use MediaMonkey for Android (also use it on my PCs), and that has a free version on Android (and Windows).

post #4 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by ymfarhi View Post
 

Hey guys!
Question: I'm getting the Audio Technica ATH-M50 for my long bus rides to school next year. Now I know MKBHD says that the sound quality is good enough that you don't need an amp, but I suspect that the Apollo music player on my Cyanogen mod Galaxy S2 isn't giving me the best sound, maybe screwing up the EQ or something. Is it something to consider before buying? Is it worth buying a new music player or an amp? Thanks.

ymfarhi

P.S. I've heard these don't have the best noise cancelers, true? If so, are there headphones in that price range with as good sound and better noise cancelers?

 

It might be possible(?) to boost the headphone output on your Galaxy S2.

I'm just not knowledgeable enough to know which smart phones can have the headphone output boosted.

I'm guessing the smart phone makers might hold back power to the headphone amplifier to make the battery charge last longer.

Might check around the Cyanogen website forum.

You can easily daisy chain a FiiO E11 ($60) portable headphone amplifier to the Galaxy S2.

 

A Sandisk Sansa Clip Zip audio player (4GB $38 to $48) should be able to drive the ATH-M50s.

You can add Micro-SDHC memory to the Clip Zip.

And use the Rockbox firmware with the Clip Zip.

 

A Takstar Pro 80 (Gemini HSR-1000) should offer just as good sound quality as the ATH-M50, but only costs around $75.

Might also check out the JVC HA-S680 folding headphones, (eBay, $75).

post #5 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post

A Sandisk Sansa Clip Zip audio player (4GB $38 to $48) should be able to drive the ATH-M50s.
You can add Micro-SDHC memory to the Clip Zip.
And use the Rockbox firmware with the Clip Zip.

+1

The Sansa Clip+ and Clip Zip are very good. I prefer them to the sound out of my Samsung Galaxy Note 2 (which is known for decent phone audio), and it has better volume. Would work well with the ATH-M50s.
post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 

Okay, got it: A Dedicated MP3 will give me better sound quality than my phone.

I see that the Sansa Zip Clip is relatively new. Will an older Sansa model like the Sansa Clip or even something more primitive that could save me a couple bucks get me the same sound quality? 

post #7 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by ymfarhi View Post
 

Okay, got it: A Dedicated MP3 will give me better sound quality than my phone.

I see that the Sansa Zip Clip is relatively new. Will an older Sansa model like the Sansa Clip or even something more primitive that could save me a couple bucks get me the same sound quality? 

 

The cheapest Sansa Clip Zip is a 4GB Red one for $34.30.

That is the cheapest Clip Zip I could find (on Amazon).

http://www.amazon.com/SanDisk-Full-Color-MicroSDHC-Stopwatch-SDMX22-004G-A57K/dp/B005FVNGRS

post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 

But I'm asking if these is actually a different product by Sansa, maybe an older generation or something, that is cheaper and delivers same sound quality? I know I 'm acting a bit cheap but teenagers don't make much :tongue_smile:

post #9 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by ymfarhi View Post
 

But I'm asking if these is actually a different product by Sansa, maybe an older generation or something, that is cheaper and delivers same sound quality? I know I 'm acting a bit cheap but teenagers don't make much :tongue_smile:

 

You might find a good deal on a used Clip Zip or Clip + on eBay.

post #10 of 10
Doubtful any older models are available, if they did sound as good. The Clip+ has been out for ten years or more, and I think the Clip Zip is an even newer model. But there are refurbished ones that are a little cheaper on Amazon.
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